Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog Post #5 Part B

personal learning network depicted in chart form. silioute of a man sitting in front of a laptop with keywords of PLN surrounding him

This blog post is a continuation of Blog Post #5. In Blog Post #5, I was introduced to what a PLN is. To review, a PLN, personal learning network, is a space on the internet where you can expand your connections and knowledge through social networking and other media.To start my PLN I created a twitter account where I followed teachers and administrators at the University of South Alabama. My next step was following people who are in EDM 310. I haven't utilized my twitter account to the fullest, but I did follow one teacher I commented on for C4T. My PLN is still small, but I hope to expand it as I continue on in my educational adventure.

C4T #4

screenshot of lana's blog 4theloveofteaching
Five for Friday- Short and Sweet! by Lana
This blog post Lana posted some pictures from Red Ribbon week at her school. Her class completed their STEM challenge, her and her son dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween, and she is a living a very busy life. One of my favorite pictures from this post was of one of her students who wrote "My Heros and Sheros" and a cape for "Dress like your hero" day during Red Ribbon Week. My commented mentioned her colorful blog and how I much enjoyed viewing the pictures she took.

I'm Still Here by Lana
This blog post was just a quick update on her hectic life. Her class finished ip their informative animal reports and had begun their oral presentations. She also received a sweet letter from one of her students that brightened up one of her worser days. The comment I left her wished her some calmer days and many more letters like the one she received. I also wished her students luck on their presentations.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post #14

Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world
When people think of teaching, they don't think it to be on par with being a doctor or being a lawyer. Joel Klein addresses these problems in Teaching our Children can be a Profession

Problem: Teaching doesn't require the best.
Solution: Start picking from the best.
Problem: Seniority
Solution: Get rid of seniority.
Problem: ..."Teachers continued to be workers in an old fashioned factory." Solution: A new system created by teachers, for the teachers

There is a stigma attached to teaching. When I told people I was going to be a teacher, their first response was, "Really? Why? You're so brave. I could never be a teacher. That's such a stressful job." On the other hand, when I talked to someone who knew someone in the education field, their response would be "Good luck. So and so hates it." I never knew how to take these comments. Teaching was just something that came natural to me. I enjoyed tutoring people and I knew I wanted to do something that would make a difference. I'm no longer an education major, but I do understand the importance of teaching. People tend to overlook teaching, but imagine the world without teachers. You can't. Teaching, and those who teach, are fundamental for all societies. So why doesn't teaching and teachers get more respect?

One problem that Klein addresses is that anyone with a teaching degree can become a teacher. His solution is that teachers should be selected from the top third of the graduates. But what are we basing this merit on? Is it grades? Is it ability in the classroom? Is it reviews from other peers? If we're going to pick from the top third, we're going to have to get selective and that might leave out great candidates for teaching. Instead of picking from the top third, maybe the academic training of teachers needs to be changed. This is suggested by Klein stating that "23 states cannot boast a single (teacher education) program that provides solid math preparation resembling the practices of high-performing nations." It's time for an academic training makeover. The changes in academic training include a longer training process, a teacher examination, and longer student-teaching internship. If all teachers are capable of teaching to the highest degree, will there still be a need to pick from the top third? Is there another process in weeding out those who may not be as competent as another? Do we create stricter academic training for future teachers?

Another problem Klein addresses is seniority. Klein makes the statement that "Job security and seniority dictate the way our schools operate." I once talked to a former teacher and she said for the first few years of teaching, she was passed around from school to school. She was stuck in the "last hired, first fired" cycle. Professionalizing teaching should lead to excellence being a guiding factor. "Excellence" will be the key derminator in policies, standards, coursework, administration...etc. I agree that excellence should be a grading factor for teachers, but again we would have to define what excellence is. Teachers who provide constant positive results should be rewarded for their efforts with tenure or other compensations. Teachers who can not provide those same results need to be re-trained. Seniority or not, teachers who are not giving the results needed should be re-evaluated.

Going back to a stricter training for future educators, Albert Shanker, a former teachers'-union leader, suggested a "national teacher examination." This exam would be like the Bar or MCAT that lawyers or doctors have to take before being able to become fully licensed. This could weed out those who may not be as competent, but again, would this leave out those possible candidates who maybe don't test as well as others. While I agree that maybe letting anyone with a teaching degree is a bad idea, I also believe that the success of teachers should be found in the classroom, not a standardized test that dictates whether or not I should be allowed to be a teacher.

While, I may not have answered this fully, I feel as if this article was only the tip of the iceberg. While Klein had a lot to say, he gave us more problems than solutions. I don't see teaching as something that needs to professionalized because I already see it as a professional job. Seniority is to be expected no matter where you go, but it shouldn't dictate who gets to stay and who doesn't. The results that teachers provide should determine who gets to stay and who doesn't. Will creating a national test cut down on how many people choose to be a teacher? Because teaching is seen as an "easy" major, will this change the way teaching is viewed? I hope it will. Teaching needs to be respected as a professional job, but it's going to take a little more than what Klein and Shanker are suggesting.

C4K #3

fountain pen laid on top of paper

100 Word Challenge by Pavit
In this blog post, Pavit wrote a bone-chilling story about being in a pumpkin patch. She was looking for a pumpkin to carve, when she wandered too far in the forest. Her mom got worried about her, but the character wanted to stay in the forest. At the end of the story, the character sees a figure in a black costume. My comment on Pavit's post complimented her on her writing skills. I told her she did a good job. I hope Pavit continues to share her writing.

PB & J by Reyna M.
Reyna uses descriptive words to describe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She uses words like "soft", "sweetness", and "delicious" to describe the texture and experience of eating a peanut butter and jelly. My comment mentioned that she should proof read her post before posting because she did have a lot of spelling errors. However, despite her spelling errors, I found her writing to be advanced for her age.

The Awesome Car by Antonio A.
Antonio writes about why he wants a car robot. A car robot can talk to you and can fight evil people. My comment agreed with him. A car robot would be very convenient and a great conversationalist.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Post #13

For this blog post, Dr. Strange asked us to create a blog post on a topic that we felt was left out. It needed to be focused on our speciality, but besides that, these were the only instructions given to us. As a future educator, one of the most important things to be is to be engaging. We had previous blog posts on what can we learn from watching these videos, but they were all related to project based learning and technology. These post didn't address what it takes to be a teacher. It addressed how to utilize technology in the classroom or how to succeed in project based learning.This blog post addresses how to be a better teacher without the use of technology.

screen cap from Christopher Emdin's video
Blog Post #13

Have you discovered how to use “magic?”

Watch Christopher Emdin’s TEDtalk titled, Teach Teachers how to Create Magic and then respond to this video and answer this following question: Have you discovered how to create magic? Explain what your take on the "magic" is.

Christopher Emdin's TEDtalk opens with him creating pictures for the audience to imagine. As future educators, his depictions really hit home. Why do we spend endless hours studying old texts written by some educator who is no longer alive? Why do we slave for hours over perfecting our lesson plans when we know no matter how prepared we are, things aren't always going to go right? It's not for us. It's for other people to grade us on. To set a standard for us. But, Emdin then talks about people who are great educators, but have no idea of the education process. They don't have the formal knowledge of how to teach education, but they are some of the best educators. It's in the way they talk, the way they move. While Emdin focuses on the urban lifestyle, take his advice and apply it to your own teaching style. As a future educator, I will create an atmosphere where my lessons tell a story. Where my students are interested in what I am saying and are paying attention to where even a simple movement speaks a thousand words. Don't be afraid to get expressive and get your students engaged through speaking. Don't be afraid to ask for that amen in the middle of a lesson! The magic Emdin's talks about is the ability to capture the attention of your students with just words.

Project #12 Part B